Mild cognitive impairment in Aboriginal Australians

Hannah Derrig, Louise M. Lavrencic, Gerald A. Broe, Brian Draper, Robert G. Cumming, Gail Garvey, Thi Yen Hill, Gail Daylight, Simon Chalkley, Holly Mack, Danielle Lasschuit, Kim Delbaere, Kylie Radford

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    Introduction: Aboriginal Australians have among the highest rates of dementia worldwide, yet no study has investigated the subtypes, risk factors, or longer term outcomes of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in this population. 

    Methods: A total of 336 community-dwelling Aboriginal Australians aged ≥60 years participated in a longitudinal study, completing a structured interview at baseline. MCI (amnestic subtype, aMCI; non-amnestic subtype, naMCI) and dementia were diagnosed via cognitive screening, medical assessment, and clinical consensus. Associations between life-course factors and baseline MCI subtypes were examined using logistic regression. Conversion to dementia was assessed at 6-year follow-up. 

    Results: Prevalent aMCI (n = 24) was associated with older age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.68, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.12 to 2.53), head injury (OR = 3.19, 95% CI: 1.35 to 7.56), symptoms of depression (OR = 1.52, 95% CI: 1.04 to 2.24), and lower blood pressure (OR = 0.53, 95% CI: 0.33 to 0.86). Prevalent naMCI (n = 29) was associated with low education (OR = 4.46, 95% CI: 1.53 to 13.05), unskilled work history (OR = 5.62, 95% CI: 2.07 to 13.90), higher body mass index (OR = 1.99, 95% CI: 1.30 to 3.04), and moderate to severe hearing loss (OR = 2.82, 95% CI: 1.06 to 7.55). A small proportion of MCI cases reverted to intact at follow-up (15%), but most remained stable (44%), developed dementia and/or died (41%). 

    Discussion: Sociodemographic and clinical factors both contributed to baseline MCI and were distinct for MCI subtypes, with similar patterns of conversion to dementia for amnestic and non-amnestic MCI.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere12054
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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